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Young pilgrims on a spiritual journey in the Holy Land

Young pilgrims on a spiritual journey in the Holy Land

Photo: Ben Gray/ELCJHL

15 June 2017

The World Council of Churches organised in June 2017 a pilgrimage in the Holy Land for eight young Christians from all over the world. Participants said it was a unique experience to discover biblical and spiritual places.

The WCC Youth Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace started on 3 June with the visit to Bethlehem and the Nativity Church. The group then went to Jerusalem for a quiet moment in the Garden of Gethsemane before walking the Via Dolorosa. At the end of the 14 Stations of the Cross, they finished the day at the Holy Sepulchre.

On the following day, they went to the Jordan River and visited several sites around the Sea of Galilee. On 5 June, the group participated in the WCC global prayer for peace in the Holy Land at the Dormition Abbey of Jerusalem by reading prayers in their languages. After the service, they met with people from different congregations of the town before enjoying some free time in the Old City.

Rev. Dr Andrew Williams, WCC worship consultant, was leading the youth during this pilgrimage: “This journey was not only about seeing historical stones, but also meeting with living stones through the local heads of churches”.

The young pilgrims also took the opportunity to meet with WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and with ecumenical accompaniers from the Ecumenical Accompaniment  Programme in Palestine and Israel.

“I enjoyed my stay in the Holy Land and my visit to every historic site. I realized how possible it is for the world to live in peace. Despite many things that come to destroy the peace we have, there is always a possible solution to it only if we are willing. All the conflicts that we have in the world, there is a solution for each”, said Samuel Wairimu from Kenya.

The pilgrimage group was comprised of seven young people from Canada, Finland, French Polynesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Republic of Korea and Palestine. “It was wonderful to watch people having their first eye-opening experience in this region and being confronted to the reality of lives there”, concluded Williams. “It was good to see the Holy Land through their eyes”.

WCC calls for global prayer for just peace in the Holy Land (WCC press release of 2 June 2017)

Pentecost Prayers for Unity and Just Peace in the Holy Land from Church Leaders Worldwide

Pentecost prayer for unity and just peace, by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit